Explore the Cultural Diversity that is Bali
By Laura Watson-Arthur.
It’s mid afternoon and I am relaxing on my sun lounger by the pool, sipping some glorious concoction out of a large coconut. One thought comes into mind, sheer bliss! I feel somewhat like a seasoned Bali professional, this is my tenth visit to the ‘Island of the Gods’ and I am already planning my next trip back.
Why? Because I always know what to expect. Bali has been an established holiday destination for at least the past 30 years, with an abundance of resorts, trendy restaurants and bars, and family friendly activities why would I holiday anywhere else.
After an hour of pure laziness, dipping in and out of the pool, I eventually decide it is time to do something. I go to my hotel concierge and enquire about the daily activities on offer. Unfortunately, I have just missed the last departure for the Bali Adventure Tour white water rafting and elephant safari. My very helpful concierges suggests why not relax and book myself a treatment at the spa today then sign up for the famous Bambu Bali cooking class tomorrow, why not!
My 90-minute spa treatment is sensational and worth every penny, but I leave feeling famished. Time for an aperitif. Most resorts in Bali offer club benefits for a small nightly surcharge and to be honest I feel it is great value compared to the club sandwiches or greasy snacks you get by the pool with the ++ 33% government tax. Most hotels have a fantastic spread on this evening offering a variety of cuisines from traditional Balinese delicacies to fine French cheeses. You will definitely feel pampered. Bali has a certain allure that tempts people to visit, or in my case, to go back time and time again. Its lure lies not only in its sheer beauty, but in the way it engages visitors with the spirit of its local and colours of its culture.
Bali’s diversity of geography will take you from the active volcano Mount Agung in the east, all the way to the low plains of the south, and across the lush forests and stepped rice paddies of the island’s centre. The beaches of the north are mostly black sand, while the tourist beaches of the south are white, and the entire island is surrounded by coral reefs, making it perfect for diving and snorkeling.
You will be surprised to find that, geographically speaking, Bali is quite massive. Each area offers something different. So here’s a guide to help you plan your next Bali getaway.
Possibly the trendiest area in Bali, Seminyak strip is full of some amazing restaurants, hip bars and also have some of the best family and couple villa options in Bali. For good food and cocktails in a stylish environment, head to Ku De Ta located in Jalan Kayu Aya. It holds regular events, and has become an institution in Bali. Another chic destination to be for drinks is Potato Head Beach Club, which blends daytime beach chill-out destination, upscale restaurant and hip nightlife.
Nusa Dua is home to many of Bali’s large resorts and all inclusive resorts. The beaches and hotels are wonderful though the “real Bali” of rice fields and small villages is a good drive away. If you’re simply here to relax, swim, and eat, then it’s the perfect option for you. Nusa Dua is renowned for some of Bali’s finest spas. Check out the hotel spas, or you can try Boutique Spa Sekar Jagat.
If you’re seeking culture, comfort, nature and inspiration, head to Ubud, a charming village set in the cool mountains of southern central Bali. It represents everything that attracts people to Bali – from the scenic rice fields, plunging valleys, to the arts and craft communities. Discover the Monkey Forest. The sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal is an important cultural sacred site in Bali, and home to hundreds of long-tailed macaques.